In Colorado, law enforcement will automatically arrest someone if they have reason to believe accusations of domestic violence are true. That’s because the state has a statute for mandatory domestic violence arrests. This is meant to offer protection to victims of domestic violence.
How can this impact your case if you are accused of domestic violence in Colorado? Read on to learn all about mandatory arrest in cases of domestic violence and what you could face if convicted of domestic violence in Colorado.
What Is Domestic Violence in Colorado?
Colorado defines domestic violence as “an act of violence that is perpetrated or threatened to be perpetrated against someone with whom the perpetrator is involved or has been involved in an intimate relationship”.
As you can see, that’s a fairly broad definition. After all, an intimate partner can be someone with whom you currently live or have lived in the past – you don’t have to be intimately involved with a person any longer to be charged with domestic violence in the state.
A domestic violence charge can be used to enhance other criminal charges, such as assault, sexual violence, or abuse. If it’s perpetrated against a current or former spouse, ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, a roommate, or someone with whom you share a child, then you could be arrested for domestic violence in a mandatory fashion.
When Do Police Invoke Mandatory Arrest?
The mandatory arrest statute in Colorado requires law enforcement officers to arrest someone if probable compels them to believe that a crime involving domestic violence took place. They make this decision when they are called to a scene.
Police use five elements to establish if there is actually probable cause for arrest. They are:
If any of these are suspected at the time police intervene in the situation, they will make an arrest.
What Happens If You’re Charged with Domestic Violence?
As mentioned, domestic violence is considered an enhancement and not a crime by itself. That means it can be added as a charge to any other type of misdemeanor or felony, such as:
- Restraining order violation
- False imprisonment
Domestic violence is considered an aggravating factor in these cases, which means that it will add to the sentence of the charges against you, if found guilty. It may also trigger the court to order you to complete other requirements as a part of your sentence, such as mandatory counseling or a domestic violence evaluation.
For most people convicted of a crime with a domestic violence enhancement, you may be:
- Required to undergo testing and treatment for domestic violence
- Subject to an order of protection, which makes it a crime for you to contact the case victim
- Possibly subject to probation, which varies by offense
A domestic violence conviction has a huge impact on your life. It can impact your rights as a parent, who employs you, where you can live, and even if you can get a loan for something larger in your life, like a new home or car.
Plus, convictions of domestic violence can trigger federal restrictions, too. You may be limited in gun ownership or military service participation. You could even have your citizenship status revoked.
Domestic violence charges can impact your life severely. Make sure you understand any charges against you and your rights under the law to fight back against them.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.